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Tar Heel Hangover: UNC’s Week Five loss to Georgia Tech

Thoughts on a difficult week.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Tar Heel Hangover. This is our Monday morning opportunity to review last week’s game, second guess all of the key moments, and set the game plan for the week ahead.

The Elevator Speech: What happened in week five.

For the first time all year, it looked like the team was playing with a lot of injuries and was short-handed. We are going to need a significant level of divine intervention to be bowl eligible.

Water Cooler Discussion: If I were the coach . . .

For the first time all year, the Tar Heels did not lead going into the fourth quarter. Georgia Tech’s dominating ground game produced over 400 yards of rushing offense and held the ball for nearly 40 minutes. One would think that holding an opponent to 53 yards passing would enable the defense to stack the box and cut off the run. One would be wrong. Once again, the Rambling Wreck showed the Heels that the triple option doesn’t just work on Friday nights.

The defense, however, really wasn’t the issue in this game. Ten first half points for a ball-control offense is a pretty good total. A bad third quarter where the big plays were a killer essentially salted the game away.

It was the offense that struggled again. No points when the game was competitive. 247 total yards; almost 100 of which came in the last six minutes after the game was over.

The defense has been better over the last two weeks, the offense has not. Whatever was planned over the summer is simply not working. It is the literal definition of insanity to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result.

The coaching staff needs to be flexible and creative, especially on offense. Perhaps I am too stuck in the moment to realize that a 1-4 team playing the same offensive scheme is really helping the future. Maybe it is only a coach with an extension that has the ability to put aside a sorely disappointing year with a view toward a promising future.

This is why I am not a college coach. I would try to win now and if I was not winning, I would change my approach. I don’t have the patience to lose.

Of course, in the preseason I listed Brandon Harris as the offensive MVP. Well, one of his two plays was not a turnover this week.

Lying In Bed, I Wish I Could Change . . .

The injuries, obviously.

One of the real downsides of being a 1-4 team, besides being looked down upon by the rest of the league, is that we now get terrible television announcers. But among all of the misstatements of game circumstances and general lack of knowledge of the rules and rulings, there was one theme that I agreed with. The injuries are what they are. We can not change them. We just have to move on and play with the players we have.

There was a very good debate in the comments to last week’s article about the job that Larry Fedora is doing. No matter what your point of view is on the topic, it is clear that with these injuries and this record a team could certainly start to doubt its abilities and purpose.

We are all going to find out what kind of coach Fedora is over the next several weeks. The barometer for this team is no longer wins and losses, it is the ability and will to compete. It is easy to be a game day coach of a good team with NFL-caliber players who are not injured. Let’s see how he does with a group of quality young men competing under difficult circumstances.

Looking Forward: Notre Dame

Believe it or not, the easy part of the schedule is over. Four of the last seven are against ranked teams, which does not include a game at Pitt. The Irish are not the world beaters that many pundits thought they would be this year (and every other year as well), but they will be a stern test. More importantly, the game will be televised on the Notre Dame Network (don’t get me started). This will be a big, public, proving ground for the Heels.

Final Thoughts

Good seasons with good teams are not just good for coaches, they are easy for fans. Adversity provides an opportunity to demonstrate loyalty. This team is not giving up and we should not give up on them.